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John Brondolo and Mark Konza
This technical note and manual (TNM) addresses the following questions: (1) What are the main challenges in administering the value-added tax on imported digital services and the measures that countries have introduced to address the challenges?; (2) What are the main challenges in administering the value-added tax on low-value imported goods and the measures that countries have introduced to address the challenges? ;and (3) What are the key tasks in implementing the measures for improving the administration of the value-added tax on imported digital services and low-value imported goods?
Mr. Ilhyock Shim, Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, and Xiaoxi Liu
We quantify the effect of exchange rate fluctuations on firm leverage. When home currency appreciates, firms who hold foreign currency debt and local currency assets observe higher net worth as appreciation lowers the value of their foreign currency debt. These firms can borrow more as a result and increase their leverage. When home currency depreciates, the reverse happens as firms have to de-lever with a negative shock to their balance sheets. Using firm-level data for leverage from 10 emerging market economies during the period from 2002 to 2015, we show that firms operating in countries whose non-financial sectors hold more of the debt in foreign currency, increase (decrease) their leverage relatively more after home currency appreciations (depreciations). Combining the leverage data with firm-level FX debt data for 4 emerging market countries, we further show that our results hold at the most granular level. Our quantitative results are asymmetric: the effects of depre-ciations, that are generally associated with sudden stops, are quantitatively larger than those of appreciations, which take place at a slower pace over time during capital inflow episodes. As our exercise compares depreciations and appreciations of similar size, these results are suggestive of financial frictions being more binding during depreciations than a possible relaxation of such frictions during appreciations.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Selected Issues
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper explores policies to drive diversification for Saudi Arabia. Diversification is needed to create jobs for Saudis and to mitigate the impact of uncertainty in oil markets. Although the business climate should be improved, and remaining infrastructure gaps addressed, reforms need to go beyond these areas. Diversification in Saudi Arabia that creates jobs for nationals could be held back by the effects of relatively high wages and their impact on cost competitiveness. Creative solutions are needed to address the impact of high government wages and employment on competitiveness. Industrial policy could help overcome the incentives that encourage companies to focus on the nontradable sector, but should be handled carefully, keeping lessons from other countries’ experiences in mind. Export orientation and competition are crucial mechanisms to ensure discipline. Strengthening human capital to raise productivity and provide workers with the skills needed in the private sector will be essential to success.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on policies to drive diversification for Qatar. Diversification is important for a large commodity exporter like Qatar: it helps manage temporary shocks and prepare for sweeping changes to the economic setting. Qatar’s large financial holdings can help diversify revenues. Both structural reforms to improve the business environment and sector-specific policies can support diversification of activity and exports. Sector-specific policies should build on existing economic strengths in areas with room for exports and innovation. Emphasis should be placed on developing expertise in specific clusters. Export markets and competition provide crucial mechanisms to ensure discipline. Further diversification is important to help Qatar manage temporary shocks and prepare for far-reaching shifts to the economic context. Well-targeted, structured, and sequenced policies to encourage specific sectors can also play a role in diversifying Qatar’s economy. Export markets and competition should be deliberately used to hold recipients of support accountable. Policies to encourage specific sectors have resulted in little more than inefficient import substitution in many countries. Avoiding this outcome requires discipline: support should be withdrawn in the absence of progress.